Is it possible to eat at one of the Big Group’s new ventures without drawing comparisons, no matter how positive, to their former crown jewel Delicious? Well no, not for me anyway. Especially when scattered through Ben’s menu you see dishes that could have been lifted from the pages of Delicious and the now defunct D’lish – sandwich fillings, pasta toppings and drinks ideas ring a faint, far-off bell.
The menu is a reassuring mix of standard café offerings of pastas, sandwiches and a few Asian options. It’s not a groundbreaking affair but it doesn’t need to be, and when duck confit features this heavily in a menu, you know they’re playing to their strengths. The decor is muted and grown up; the Pavilion outlet plays with stripes and lime green accents while the KLCC branch uses shades of grey and huge, comfy chairs.
The chargrilled seafood spaghettini was the first to arrive, a heaped plate of spaghettini tossed in flavoured oils and garnished with wilted spinach and dried chillis. (They’ve taken the term seafood very loosely to mean two prawns and a lot of sotong.) A decent stab at the aglio olio standard, it was well seasoned and flavourful but dripping in just a little too much oil.
Next was an excellent, flaky pie encasing chunks of tender wagyu beef, pronounced the favourite even before the rest were sampled. The cheeseburger was exactly what a cheeseburger should be – juicy, sizeable and topped with a slice of real cheese. The salt beef sandwich was the lone disappointment – overly chunky slices of salt beef are fine if the meat is suitably tender, but it wasn’t. A sandwich with only one filling shouldn’t take quite so much chewing.
We finished off with a mammoth slice of chocolate and walnut brownie and a hint of déjà vu. Looks are deceiving; what looks like a dense slice of brownie is actually more like a very rich chocolate fudge cake with a lighter crumb and spongier feel. It was a good finish to a solid meal. We still feel like Ben’s is very much Delicious 2.0, but with sophistication on its side. Emma Chong
Benjamin Yongwas voted Restaurateur of the Year in the Time Out KL Food Awards2012. Ben's was voted Best New Restaurant in 2011. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.
|Venue name:||Ben's Pavilion KL||Contact:|
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat & eve of public holidays, 11am-12midnight|